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2. Mystical Qabalah - Background

C. Mystical Qabalah and Practical/Hermetic Qabalah

The Qabalah is traditionally traced back to Adam and Eve. It has been maintained in its purest forms by unbroken lineages of known and mostly unknown masters, saints, and prophets over thousands of years. The practices of the Mystical Qabalah, passed down from teacher to student, generally involve a variety of yogic disciplines that are rooted in scriptural revelations and primary texts. The highest intentions and experiences of the Mystical Qabalah correlate with those of all other mystical traditions. At the same time, and without contradiction, each mystical tradition has its own unique totality archetypes, scriptures, Messiahs and great souls, and styles of observances.

The disciplines of the Mystical Qabalah are distinct from those practiced by magicians, wizards, and sorcerers who seek to acquire creative and/or destructive power, depending on what paths they traverse on the Tree of Life. The occult disciplines of wizards and magicians are often called the Practical, Hermetic, or Magical Qabalah. Practical Qabalah has its ancient roots in the "Thirteen Enochian Keys" of Enoch son of Qain, along with a highly eclectic admixture of material taken from Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and other non-Hebrew sources. It is important not to confuse Enoch son of Qain with Enoch son of Yared. The former Enoch was the grandson of Adam and the son after whom Qain was said to name a city.Torah B’reshith 4:17. Enoch son of Yared was the great, great, great, great grandson of Adam, and the one who "walked with Elohim" and was transformed into Metatron.The ascension and transformation of Enoch ben Yared is vaguely alluded to in Torah B’reshith 5:24, and related in detail in I Enoch, the first of the two remaining books of Enochian literature traced to the reign of Sheba in Ethiopia. I Enoch was translated by R.H. Charles in the late nineteenth century. In the Qur’an, Metatron is referred to as Al Khidr. The "Thirteen Enochian Keys" of Enoch son of Qain are reflected in such works as The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon, and medieval grimoires such as the Armadel, Goetia/Lemegeton, etc.S.L. MacGregor Mathers translated The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon, and the Grimoire of Armadel. These books were drawn upon by both the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templis Orientis for some of their rituals and experiments. Aleister Crowley incorporated material from them in his writings as well. Mathers also brought attention to the Sifra Detzniyutha and the Idra Rabba with his English translation of Knorr Von Rosenroth’s Latin translation of those texts. The primary text of the Mystical Qabalah that appears to occupy a central place of importance in the Hermetic Qabalah is the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation). However, from what is written in many of the books of Hermetic Qabalah, it is apparent that the structure of the Tree of Life, nature of the Inner Court, and function of the letter-gates as explicated by the Sefer Yetzirah are widely misunderstood.

The two most prominent contemporary schools of Practical or Hermetic Qabalah are the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), which still exist and continue to attract followers today. The Golden Dawn was founded in the late nineteenth century in the heyday of the Victorian Period. The document reputed to be at the foundation of the Golden Dawn system was the Cypher Manuscript attributed to Fraulein Sprengel. The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage was also an important document for the Golden Dawn and a significant influence on the controversial Aleister Crowley, who broke with the Golden Dawn and formed the Order Templis Orientis. The O.T.O was founded primarily upon works of sexual mysteries and Masonic Charters, and incorporated the Abramelin material at a later date. Until very recently, almost all books in English on the subject of the Qabalah, regardless of their title or professed subject, could be traced to members of these orders or to orders that evolved from them. While these two orders (and their respective leading lights-MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley) gained the most notoriety and "product packaging" among recent Practical Qabalists, more powerful Magical Qabalists do exist and have existed unknown to the world at large.

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